There’s something in human nature that wants to join and belong. We want to be a part of clubs, institutions, nations, federations, confraternities, fellowships, friendly societies, unions, movements and armies and organizations. We need to belong to a group, a family, an order of like minded brothers and sisters. We want to work together with shared beliefs to change the world. We want to fit into a hierarchy, a chain of command and an ordered society.
There’s also something in human nature that needs to be subversive. We want to undermine all the clubs and coteries, all the gangs and groups, all the secret societies and establishment associations. We distrust such groups and long to undermine them all. We want to be part of a guerilla movement, a renegade army of radicals. We want to belong to ‘we few, we faithful few’–an idealist group of individuals who never compromise and are willing to die for their beliefs.
As a Catholic you can do both at once. You belong to the most ancient, the most universal, the most august and venerable of institutions. You are a member of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church that comes to us from the Apostles. It has embassies in every land, an international network of associations and orders and confraternities and religious movements and associations of the faithful and charities and schools. You want to belong? You’re in. You want to be part of a family? The Catholic Church is the one and only organization that is truly fraternal, international, non discriminatory and inclusive all human beings who want to belong everywhere.
At the same time, if you join the Catholic Church you belong to the one organization that has also at ever place and in every time been subversive. True Catholics are always underground church members. They’re always critical of the status quo, always ready to subvert the worldly order, always being counter-cultural. One of their battle cries is, “The gospel is only good news when it is subversive!”
St Francis illustrates this paradox. In a radical hippie like move he throws his rich father’s goods out the window, takes his cash and give it to the poor, then strips naked and hands everything back to his earthly father to go and build Christ’s Church. Then he walks barefoot to Rome in order to submit himself to another father–the Holy Father–and will not be content until he is within the embrace of the Church.
So do you want to belong to the greatest and oldest of surviving historical institutions–a worldwide fellowship of brothers and sisters who share the most intimate bond not only between themselves, but with their confreres down the ages–but you also want to belong to the world’s oldest subversive underground, unpredictable and persecuted minority?
Join the Catholic Church.